The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

House Debates Education Funding, Abortion and Golf Tournament Subsidy

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Yesterday, the House continued to move through the budget, this time going through nearly all of the provisos – Section IB.

Debate started early (around 9:30 a.m.) and ran late (until about 10:45 p.m.) with breaks for lunch and dinner in between.

The section on the Department of Education took up most of the day – with a number of amendments sparking lengthy debates – lasting up until about 6 pm.

After being wined and dined by Boeing during a private dinner for the Legislature, the bulk of part IB was passed with only a few amendments taken up. Among the highlights of the day:

  • Rep. Nikki Haley (R-Lexington) proposed an amendment, adopted 74-42, that requires 70 percent (up from 65 percent) of school district per pupil expenditures to be allocated to instructional costs, as opposed to administrative and other expenses. Debate over this bill lasted for several hours as members spoke for and against the change.
  • Rep. Thad Viers (R-Horry) proposed an amendment that would have banned taxpayer-funded lobbying on behalf of public higher education institutions. The Policy Council has reported previously on this issue. The amendment was tabled by a voice vote.
  • Rep. Robert Brown (D-Charleston) proposed an amendment to allow the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs the right to keep 100 percent of revenue raised from the sale of “excess” property. Currently, the agency (and all state agencies for that matter) must give 50 percent of such proceeds to the Budget and Control Board. The amendment was tabled by a vote of 60-48. To read more about how the BCB is charging “rent” to state agencies, click here.
  • Reps. Bill Bowers (D-Hampton) and Walton McLeod (D-Newberry) proposed an amendment to allow local governments and schools to receive a percentage of the profit made by the Department of Natural Resources when it sells trees. The proposal was meant to bring DNR sales in line with that of the Forestry Commission – providing language to require a percentage of proceeds to be contributed to local schools and governments. This amendment was tabled by a voice vote.
  • Rep. Bakari Sellars (D-Bamberg) proposed an amendment, which was adopted 57-54, to reinstate a coverage mandate under the state insurance plan to require coverage for abortions in instances of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is threatened.

Today, the House will be going through Sections 89 and 90 of the budget – general provisos and statewide revenue. Already, they have engaged in heated debate over $10 million to be used to prop up the Heritage Golf Tournament in Beaufort County (initially proviso 89.112). The $15 million being used to prop up the airline industry easily passed review.

Stay tuned for ongoing blog updates … and see our real-time coverage on Twitter.

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Written by Geoff Pallay

March 17, 2010 at 10:37 am

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